History of rail transport in India

History of rail transport in India

:"This article is part of the history of rail transport by country series.
See also Rail transport in India and Indian Railways."

Under British rule

A rail system in India was first proposed in 1832 in Madras but it never materialised. In the 1840s, other proposals were forwarded to the British East India Company who governed India. The Governor-General of India at that time, Lord Hardinge deliberated on the proposal from the commercial, military and political viewpoints. He came to the conclusion that the East India Company should assist private capitalists who sought to setup a rail system in India, regardless of the commercial viability of their project.

On September 22nd, 1842, British civil engineer Charles Blacker Vignoles, submitted a "Report on a Proposed Railway in India" to the East India Company.Andrew (1884)] By 1845, two companies, the East Indian Railway Company operating from Calcutta, and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) operating from Bombay, were formed. The first train in India was operational on 1851-12-22, used for the hauling of construction material in Roorkee. A few years later, on 1853-04-16, the first passenger train between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thana covering a distance of 34 km (21 miles) was inaugurated, formally heralding the birth of railways in India. Prior to this there was in 1832 a proposal to build a railroad between Madras and Bangalore and in 1836 a survey was conducted for this line.

The British government encouraged the setting up of railways by private investors under a scheme that would guarantee an annual return of 5% during the initial years of operation. Once completed, the company would be passed under government ownership, but would be operated by the company that built them. Robert Maitland Brereton, a British engineer was responsible for the expansion of the railway from 1857 onwards. In March 1870, he was responsible for the linking of both the rail systems, which by then had a network of 6,400 km (4,000 miles). By 1875, about £95 million were invested by British companies in Indian guaranteed railways. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=aMIkcVsGi_gC&pg=PA17&dq=india+railway+1900&lr=&as_brr=1&ei=VK_CR7nxC4aUzATL6unRCg&sig=fbfn3T1A59hcMvBjAw1Iq_T56yY#PPA54,M1 British investment in Indian railway reaches £100m by 1875] ]

By 1880 the network had a route mileage of about 14,500 km (9,000 miles), mostly radiating inward from the three major port cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. By 1895, India had started building its own locomotives, and in 1896 sent engineers and locomotives to help build the Ugandan Railways.

In 1900, the GIPR became a government owned company. The network spread to modern day states of Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and soon various independent kingdoms began to have their own rail systems. In 1901, an early Railway Board was constituted, but the powers were formally invested under Lord Curzon. It served under the Department of Commerce and Industry and had a government railway official serving as chairman, and a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways as the other two members. For the first time in its history, the Railways began to make a profit.

In 1907 almost all the rail companies were taken over by the government. The following year, the first electric locomotive makes its appearance. With the arrival of World War I, the railways were used to meet the needs of the British outside India. With the end of the war, the state of the railways was in disrepair and collapse.

In 1920, with the network having expanded to 61,220 km, a need for central management was mooted by Sir William Acworth. Based on the East India Railway Committee chaired by Acworth, the government takes over the management of the Railways and detaches the finances of the Railways from other governmental revenues.

The period between 1920 to 1929 was a period of economic boom. Following the Great Depression, the company suffered economically for the next eight years. The Second World War severely crippled the railways. Trains were diverted to the Middle East and the railways workshops were converted to munitions workshops. By 1946 all rail systems were taken over by the government.

tart of Indian Railways

Following independence in 1947, India inherited a decrepit rail network. About 40 per cent of the railways then passed through the newly independent republic of Pakistan. A large number of lines had to be rerouted through Indian territory, and new construction had to be undertaken. Almost 85 per cent of the railways available today were laid before independence. [http://www.tcil.com/rail.asp] Underinvestment and unproductive management and maintenance practices have sharply curtailed growth in route length. A total of forty-two separate railway systems, including thirty-two lines owned by the former Indian princely states existed at the time of independence spanning a total of 55,000 km. These were amalgamated into the Indian Railways.

In 1951, the rail networks were abandoned in favour of zones. A total of six zones came into being in 1952. As India developed it economy, almost all railway production units started to be built indigenously. Broad Gauge became the standard, and the Railways began to electrify most lines to AC.

In 1985, steam locomotives were phased out. Under Rajiv Gandhi, reforms in the railways were carried out. In 1987, computerisation of reservation first was carried out in Bombay and in 1989 the train numbers were standardised to four digits. In 1995 the entire railway reservation was computerised through the railways intranet. In 1998, the Konkan Railway was opened, spanning difficult terrain through the Western Ghats. A Calcutta Metro has been built.

ee also

* Agra-Delhi Chord Railway
* Bengal Assam Railway (in 1947, renamed East Bengal Rly., and in 1961, renamed Pakistan Eastern Rly.)
* Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway
* Bengal Central Railway
* Bengal Dooars Railway, also Bankura Damodar Railway
* Bilaspur-Etawah State Railway
* Barsi Light Railway
* Burma Mines Railway
* Bengal Nagpur Railway
* Bengal North-Western Railway
* Bengal Provincial Railway
* Cooch Behar Railway
* Calcutta and South-Eastern Railway
* Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
* Dhond-Manmad State Railway
* Dehri Rohtas Light Railway
* Drangdhara State Railway
* East Bengal State Railway
* East Coast Railway
* East Indian Railway
* Eastern Punjab Railway
* Gaekwar's Baroda State Railway
* Great Indian Peninsular Railway
* Gwalior Light Railway (later Scindia State Railway)
* Gondal State Railway
* Great South of India Railway
* Indian Government Railways
* Indian Midland Railway
* Indian State Railway
* Indus Valley State Railway
* Jamnagar and Dwarka Railway
* Jodhpur Railway
* Jaipur State Railway
* Khanai-Hindubagh Railway
* Kushalgarh-Kohat-Thal Railway
* Kalka-Shimla Railway
* Kangra Valley Railway
* Larkana-Jacobabad Railway
* Matheran Light Railway
* Madras Railway
* Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
* Mysore State Railway
* North-East Frontier Railway
* Nilgiri Mountain Railway
* Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway
* Nizam's State Railway
* North Western Railway (in 1961, renamed Pakistan Western Rly.)
* Oudh and Rohilkhund Railway
* Oudh and Tirhut Railway
* Piplod Devgad Baria Railway
* Parlakimedi Light Railway
* Punjab Northern State Railway
* Patiala State Monorail Trainways
* Raipur Dhamtari Railway
* Rohilkhund Kumaon Railway
* Rajputana-Malwa Railway
* South Indian Railway
* Southern Mahratta Railway
* Scinde, Punjab, and Delhi Railway
* Shahdara Saharanpur Light Railway
* Scindia State Railway, also Sangli State Railway
* Tezpore-Balipara Light Railway
* Wardha Coal State Railway
* West of India Portuguese Railway



* cite book | author=Andrew, W. P. | year=1884 | url=http://www.archive.org/details/IndianRailways | title=Indian Railways | location=London | publisher=W H Allen
* cite book | author=Awasthi, A. | title=History and Development of Railways in India | year=1994 | publisher=Deep and Deep Publications | location=New Delhi
* cite book | author=Ghosh, S. | title=Railways in India – A Legend | year=2002 | publisher=Jogemaya Prokashani | location=Kolkata
* cite book | author=Government of India Railway Board | title=History of Indian Railways Constructed and In Progress corrected up to 31st March 1918 | year=1919 | publisher=Government Central Press | location=India
* cite book | author=Kerr, I. | title=Building the Railways of the Raj | year=1995 | publisher=Oxford University Press | location=Delhi
* cite book | author=Khosla, G. S. A | title=History of Indian Railways | year=1988 | publisher=Ministry of Railways | location=India
*Law Commission (England and Wales) (2007) "PDF| [http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/docs/indian_railways.pdf Consultation Paper: Indian Railways Repeal Proposals] |1.62 MiB "
* cite book | author=Satow, M. & Desmond R. | title=Railways of the Raj | year=1980 | publisher=Scolar Press | location=London
* cite book | title=Illustrated Guide to the South Indian Railway Company, Including the Mayavaram-Mutupet and Peralam-Karaikkal Railways | author=South Indian Railway Co. | year=1900 | publisher=Higginbotham | location=Madras
* cite book | title=Illustrated Guide to the South Indian Railway Company | author=— | year=1910 | publisher=London
* cite book | title=Illustrated Guide to the South Indian Railway Company | author=— | year=2004 | publisher=Asian Educational Services | origyear=1926 | url=http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN8120618890&id=SzWvq8EYBwUC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&ots=95VFTf1ONX&dq=Illustrated+Guide+to+the+South+Indian+Railway+(Incorporated+in+England):+including+the+Tanjore&num=20&sig=HH-Vzirw2dNp3m4Eq44mbnR7gh0 | id=ISBN 8120618890

External links

* cite web | url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-hist.html | title=History of the Indian railways in chronological order | work=IRFC server | publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club | accessdate=2007-10-21
* cite web | url=http://www.samit.org/nid/hod1.htm | title=A chronological history of India's railways | author=Roychoudhury, S. | year=2004 | accessdate=2007-10-21
* [http://www.indiarail.info/ir-info.html Indian Railways Information] ----

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